Chiropractic With(out) Compromise?


     One of the greatest issues that has faced our
profession, almost since its beginning, is one of compromise.
Early pioneers were often asked to plead guilty to practicing
medicine in exchange for suspended jail sentences or nominal
fines.  Many went to jail because they refused to make that
concession.  Others may have said that it was no big deal,
they knew they were not practicing medicine, and their
patients knew they were not practicing medicine.  So what if
they admitted they were in court?  They could not adjust
their patients from a jail cell and getting back into
practice was worth the compromise.  The end justified the
means.  History remembers and reveres the former group, those
that went to jail rather than admit to doing something
that was abhorrent to them (i.e., practicing medicine).
Those that compromised we do not even remember.
     Those that hold to a traditional approach to the
practice of chiropractic have been faced with the challenge
of compromise in more recent times.  They have clearly opted
to compromise.  That is one of the inherent weaknesses of a
traditional approach to chiropractic.  The objective approach
is based upon a clear stated objective, a non-negotiable
premise, principle or law.  It leaves little room for
compromise.  The objective straight approach is one in
which the D.C. corrects vertebral subluxation so that the
innate intelligence of the body is able to be expressed more
fully.  That is all the objective straight chiropractor does,
nothing more, nothing less.  That leaves little room for
compromise.  The traditional approach defines chiropractic by
“custom or a belief passed from generation to generation”
(Webster).  Beliefs change, customs change, so it is not
difficult to make little compromises here and there
especially when the standard only goes back to the previous
generation.  Like the parlour game, “whisper down the lane,”
what is considered to be traditional can change from
generation to generation.  The objective straight does not
care what the last generation did or what the future
generation wants to do (or feels compelled to do), it only
cares what the standard, the principle, the law, the
objective says.  It leaves little room for compromise.
That’s what makes objective straight chiropractors such a
seemingly intolerant bunch of people.  Their approach leaves
them with no choice.  Every time they are faced with a choice
or a potential compromise, they have to evaluate it in light
of their objective, not their personal preference, what is
expedient, financially rewarding, status enhancing, ego
gratifying or even what will perpetuate their personal goals,
school or organization.  How it relates to the objective is
the only issue.
     Much has been written and continues to be written about
the concept of slipping and checking.  But I don’t believe we
really begin to appreciate the fragility of this chiropractic
philosophy and how one little slip, one slight compromise can
cause the entire system to collapse.  That is a drawback of
the objective approach.  Being deductive in nature, it
depends upon its premise being sound and its action following
a logical deductive course.  If you do not check a small
slip, the deduction might as well be thrown out the window.
When it comes to principle, you do not slip a little.  How
much of the fruit did Adam have to eat to bring down the
entire human race?  One bite, two bites, the whole thing?
The ADIO world and life viewpoint recognizes absolutes.
There is no difference between taking a blood pressure and
using ultrasound.  Both represent a rejection of the
principle of chiropractic.  They may represent degrees of
mixing and one may be considered worse than the other, but
when it comes to principle, they are equally non-straight.
     Objective straight chiropractic is at a critical time.
(It seems someone is always saying we are at a critical time,
but this time it is different).  In the past the issue always
was, would we be able to practice our philosophical approach.
Can we have schools teaching our approach, will states allow
our graduates to practice, will the laws force us to practice
other than how our objective deductive philosophy dictates?
But the issue is no longer, will the practice of objective
straight chiropractic survive, but will the philosophy of
objective straight chiropractic survive?  Can we teach a
philosophy in a compromising manner?  Can we say chiropractic
is one thing and then teach by example and in practical
application something else?  One prominent, straight
chiropractic college spokesman has claimed that we have been
compromising for years in teaching diagnosis in the
classroom.  It is arguable whether teaching a subject is
compromising but even if it was, it was for the purpose of
buying time so we could develop our own accrediting agency
and ultimately develop a curriculum free of medical subjects.
If our compromise had that end in view, eventually being able
to teach chiropractic the way we want, it could be
     But that is no longer the case, no one is optimistic
that chiropractic college curriculum can get straighter.  On
the contrary, anybody who doesn’t believe it will get worse,
either has not studied chiropractic history or is divorced
from reality.  Getting CCE approval may have been the end of
a long battle but it is not a victory for straight
chiropractic.  It is not something to be proud of.  These are
the people who we saw as the enemy for the last twenty years.
They have not changed, relented or compromised.  We came in
on their terms forsaking ours.  Some believe we can teach
chiropractic the same, despite the fact that twenty years ago
the traditional straight schools tried to and failed
miserably.  Now the objective straight schools will try
again.  The more the medical model of health care becomes the
CCE model of chiropractic the more the education will reflect
it and the more the clinical application will have to reflect
the education.  It can only get worse.  How can things get
better for objective straight chiropractic?  Can one school
change the CCE?  Sure, and one good apple can make a barrel
of rotten apples edible!  The CCE wants chiropractic to
become more and more like medicine.  Objective straight
chiropractic wants chiropractic to become less and less like
medicine.  The two cannot live together.
     The CCE is not willing to allow objective straight
chiropractic to be taught at all levels of the academic
program, perhaps not at any level.  Their medical model must
be taught in the clinical experience.  To think that we can
circumvent or somehow “play the game” is divorcement from
reality.  Let’s get something clear, that should not even
need to be discussed but apparently is.  We do not belong in
any kind of association with the CCE.  Our goals and
objective are entirely different and apparently they are only
willing to allow us to teach our objective straight
chiropractic within their framework.  Pennsylvania College
recognized this point and I respect their position (I did not
agree with it, but I respected it).  They said, “look we
cannot string the CCE along and pretend to be a CCE school.
We must become one, we must change our philosophy (and our
name).  If we are going to compromise, we must go all the
way.”  (It wasn’t that they had too much integrity to not
want to deceive the CCE and pretend to follow the CCE model.
They would have been happy to do it, they just didn’t think
they could get away with it).  Well apparently it can be
gotten away with (temporarily anyway).  The question is what
does that do to us, to the objective straight chiropractic
movement?  Either we compromise like Pennsylvania College or
we deceive the CCE and pretend we have seen the light and
agree to their model.  That is even a greater danger.  I am
not trying to moralize, but the fact is that straight
chiropractic cannot be perpetuated as a principle if it is
built upon purposeful deceit and deception.  Our schools do
not deserve CCE recognition because they cannot meet the
“spirit of the CCE.” We may meet the “letter of the law” and
take blood pressures in the health center but we are not
doing it for the correct reason.  That is dishonest toward
the patient, dishonest toward the CCE, dishonest toward
ourselves and worst of all, dishonest toward straight
chiropractic.  That is a lack of principle and integrity.
Our entire ADIO philosophy is based upon principle.  A right
thing (accreditation) done in a wrong way (deceiving the CCE)
is wrong.  The end justifies the means is relativistic,
outside-in thinking and does not belong in a philosophy that
clearly defines right and wrong, bad and good, what is
chiropractic and what is not.  If this is the position we as
a profession are going to take, then we have, in fact,
compromised everything that we have fought for during the
last twenty years.  We have wasted millions of dollars and
millions of man hours and we are in the same position that
the traditional straight schools were in 1975.  We have
gained acceptance and lost our principle.  “For what does it
profiteth a man if he should gain the whole world and lose
his own soul.”  Giving up the soul of chiropractic for
accreditation is too great a price to pay, at least for me.v11n4

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